The 9 Easiest Languages to Learn (And How Long It Takes!)

Chad Emery Published on January 20, 2023

In this article, we’ll walk you through 9 of the easiest languages to learn. You’ll also learn some cool reasons to learn each one of them. By the end, hopefully you’ll know which language you want to study!

There are a lot of languages in the world today. In fact, there are over 6,000 of them! Choosing which one (or two) you want to learn can be difficult. If it’s your first time learning a language, it’s a good idea to start with an easy language to learn for English speakers.

Plus, some of the easiest languages are also some of the most spoken languages in the world. The map above shows you how far-reaching each of the languages on this list are. Some of them may surprise you! To see how long it’ll take you to learn one of these languages (or any others), you can check out our Fluency Calculator.

In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at each of these easy languages individually.

What Are The Easiest Languages to Learn?

The easiest languages for English speakers to learn are: Danish, Dutch, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, and French. The US State Department lists these languages as Category I languages. This means they are similar to English culturally and/or linguistically. Chances are you’ll notice some similarities to English if you decide to learn one of them! And you may be surprised how many words are similar or the exact same.

Danish (24 weeks)

Danish is a North Germanic language that over 5.5 million people speak. You probably already know that it’s the official language of Denmark, but did you know people in the Faroe Islands also speak Danish?

Danish is easy for English speakers to learn because they are both Germanic languages. You can recognize a lot of different vocabulary in both languages. The grammar isn’t too difficult either. There are a few additional sounds in Danish that don’t exist in English, but you can learn them quickly with a little pronunciation practice.

You can check out some of the best Danish learning apps to get started. Or take a look at a couple examples. Can you see the similarities between Danish and English in the words below?

Datter – Daughter
Hus – House
Efter – After
Halv – Half

Dutch (24 weeks)

Dutch is a West Germanic language that 22 million people around the world speak. It’s the official language in the Netherlands, as well as Belgium and Suriname. The Caribbean nations of Aruba, Curaçao, and St. Maarten also include Dutch as an official language.

Dutch is easy for English speakers to learn because it’s a close relative of English. It’s a somewhat flexible language in terms of vocabulary. It’s common for English expressions to make their way into Dutch, which means you already know a lot of everyday vocabulary!

There are also many apps to learn Dutch available. This makes it easy to learn wherever you are in the world. Here are some examples of words that are similar in Dutch and English:

Boek – Book
Mond – Mouth
Wereld – World
Droom – Dream

Italian (24 weeks)

Italian is a very popular language with English speakers because of Italian culture, food, and the beautiful country of Italy. It’s in the family of Romance languages (along with other popular languages like Spanish and French), and almost 70 million people speak it. Outside of Italy, it’s common to hear Italian in San Marino, Vatican City, parts of Switzerland, and even in some regions of Croatia and Slovenia.

English speakers can quickly learn Italian because of its easy pronunciation and spelling. Unlike English, every letter is always pronounced exactly the same way in Italian. Once you master the different sounds, you’ll be able to pronounce every word correctly! English also borrows quite a few words from Italian (like pizza, pasta, paparazzi), so you won’t be starting from zero either.

To get started, check out the best Italian learning apps. You can also look at some similar words below:

L’Attenzione – Attention
Generosità – Generosity
Impossibile – Impossible
Fantastico – Fantastic

Norwegian (24 weeks)

Norwegian, similar to Danish and Swedish, is a North Germanic language. Over 5 million people speak it, and it’s the official language of – you guessed it! – Norway. There are two written forms of Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk), but don’t let that intimidate you. It’s still surprisingly easy for English speakers to learn Norwegian.

One of the most obvious reasons Norwegian is an easy language to learn is its shared vocabulary with English. However, there are also a couple more. The word order in Norwegian is strikingly similar to English, and it also uses a lot of compound words. This makes it easy to remember (or even guess) vocabulary words.

You can try out some Norwegian learning apps to start studying or see a few similar words below.

Tre – Tree
Snø – Snow
Katt – Cat
Igjen – Again

Portuguese (24 weeks)

Portuguese is a Romance language spoken by over 250 million people around the world. It’s the official language in Portugal and Brazil, but its reach extends far beyond these two countries. Portuguese is also a main language in Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Macau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Portuguese is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn for a couple reasons. The structure of Portuguese sentences is similar to English, for one. In fact, some of the structures are even more simple, like questions. Being one of the most spoken languages in the world, there are also a lot of ways to learn Portuguese online.

Check out some of the most popular apps to learn Portuguese or look at some Portuguese vocabulary you may already know below.

Chocolate – Chocolate
Alfabeto – Alphabet
Situação – Situation
Fluência – Fluency

Romanian (24 weeks)

Romanian is a Romance language, along with a few other languages on this list. Its geography is a little more limited than some of the others though, like Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Still, over 28 million people speak Romanian. You’ll most commonly hear it in Romania (of course!) and Moldova.

Romanian is an easy language to learn because it’s a phonetic language. Similar to Spanish and Italian, Romanian letters are always pronounced the same way. Once you master how to pronounce them, you can say any word in the whole language! It also has Latin roots, so once you understand the general structure, you can guess a lot of vocabulary without actually studying it.

Take a look at some excellent Romanian learning apps to start learning it or check out some similar words below.

Șoc – Shock
Faimos – Famous
Elefant – Elephant
Castel – Castle

Spanish (24 weeks)

Spanish is not only one of the most popular languages that English speakers learn, but it’s also one of the easiest. It’s also useful – almost 550 million people speak Spanish around the world and it’s an official language in 20 countries. Spanish-language movies, series, and music have gone global in the past few years, so you’ve probably come into contact with the language at some point.

Spanish pronunciation may be intimidating because it sounds fast and has different sounds (like the rolling r sound), but it’s pretty straightforward once you learn the basics. The grammar is also fairly simple if you want to become conversational. The easiest aspect of learning Spanish is how accessible it is.

There are so many apps to learn Spanish available, so all you need to do is choose one and get started! To show you how similar some words are in Spanish and English, take a look at the list below.

Actor – Actor
Final – Final
Múltiple – Multiple
Ópera – Opera

Swedish (24 weeks)

Swedish is a Germanic language that over 13 million speak. You can probably guess that most of them are in Sweden, but it’s also an official language in Finland. It’s closely related to Norwegian and Danish, which are also some of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn.

English and Swedish have the same roots, which is why it’s easy to learn if you already speak English. The grammar isn’t too complicated, and the verb conjugations are quick and (mostly) painless to memorize. The same can’t be said for some of the other languages on this list!

If you study just a little bit each day, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can learn Swedish. There are some high-quality apps to learn Swedish available and you can also find some entertaining Swedish shows and movies on popular streaming services like Netflix. To give you an idea of what Swedish vocabulary looks like, here are a few words that are similar to their English translation.

Syster – Sister
Bror – Brother
Hand – Hand
Bröd – Bread

French (30 weeks)

French is a Romance language, just like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. Over 270 million people speak French around the world, and it’s the official language of 29 countries and some major international bodies, like the United Nations.

French is the most difficult language on this list to learn according to the US State Department. However, it’s still a lot easier to learn than most other languages. This is because a huge amount of English words come from French. While you may be put off by the sometimes difficult pronunciation rules, it gets a lot easier as your progress.

Using a French learning app is the best way to get started, and you can make a lot of progress quickly if you study consistently. Here are some words you already know that translate directly to French:

Édition – Edition
Univers – Universe
Zéro – Zero
Romantique – Romantic

Easiest Languages to Learn: Why Are They Easy?

The 9 languages listed above are the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. They’re all there for a specific reason, too. Most of them have similar roots as English, which means their vocabulary is similar in a lot of instances. Their grammar is also close in many ways, which means it’ll be easier for you to learn them quickly.

While it can be difficult to learn any language, with consistency and motivation, you can learn to speak one of these languages in no time. There’s a bonus too – most of these easy languages to learn are related to each other. If you learn Spanish, for example, you’ll be able to pick up Italian, French, Portuguese, and Romanian even more easily!

Easiest Languages to Learn: How to Start Learning Them

The best way to learn a language is by completely immersing yourself in it. That’s not always possible though, but thankfully there are other ways to jump in! Using the best language apps for each language is a great way to get started. They’re convenient, easy to use, and can get you speaking in just a few days.

If your goal is to become fluent, there are additional language learning tools and resources you can use. These include books, courses, and even finding a native tutor online. You can also check out YouTube channels that are in your target language or find a top-notch podcast to listen to on your way to work, at the gym, or even when you’re taking a walk. Check out some of our language guides for more specific ideas.

Final Thoughts

The 9 languages on this list are the easiest ones for English speakers to learn. Different aspects of each language are similar to English, so you’ll have an advantage if you choose to learn one of them. However, it’s important to remember that not everyone learns languages the same way. And the amount of time it takes is also different for each person.

It’s a good idea to choose a language you connect with, whether your friends and family live in a country that speaks it, you want to travel there, or even if you’re learning it for more career opportunities. Now that you know the 9 easiest languages to learn, the only thing you need to do is get started!

Easiest Languages to Learn FAQ

What is the world’s easiest language to learn?

According to the US State Department, the easiest language for English speakers to learn is a toss-up between Danish, Dutch, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and Swedish. All of these languages take approximately 600 hours to learn to a professional level.

What’s the closest language to English?

It’s impossible to determine which language is closest to English because there is no standardized way to compare them. In some ways, Dutch is the closest language to English because of its vocabulary and grammar. However, some less-spoken languages like Frisian and Scots are even more similar.

What’s the hardest language to learn?

For English speakers, the hardest language to learn is a tie between 5 languages: Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and Korean. This is because they are all very different culturally and linguistically to English. According to the US State Department, it takes an astounding 2,200 hours to become professionally proficient in any of these languages.

What language is most useful to learn?

It’s impossible to determine the most useful language to learn because everyone learns for different reasons. For business, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic are two important languages. For culture and art, French is undeniably one of the most important. When it comes to literature, German and Russian could be top contenders. Thinking about why you want to learn a language can help you determine the most useful one to learn.

How fast can you learn a language?

If your goal is only to have basic conversations, you can learn a language in as little as 3 months. However, to become completely fluent, it depends on the language. Check out the Langoly Fluency Calculator to see how fast you can learn a language.

Can you learn multiple languages at the same time?

Yes, you can learn multiple languages at the same time. In fact, doing this can be beneficial if the languages you’re learning are similar. For example, if you learn Spanish and Portuguese together, you can progress more quickly in both of them because of their similarities in vocabulary and grammar.

Chad Emery

Chad is the founder and editor of Langoly. He was a TEFL-certified English teacher for many years and has been an active language learner for many more. His articles have been featured around the web by organizations like the Government of Canada's Translation Bureau and Simon & Schuster. In his free time, Chad is an avid traveler and loves running in new places. Connect with Chad on LinkedIn.

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